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Anfield Online
Saturday 25th November 2006
at Anfield
FA Premiership


GOALS: Gerrard 65 Watch Stevie's Goal and Post Match Interviews

LIVERPOOL TEAM: (4-4-2) - Crouch comes back in to the side. Hyypia returns with Agger moving to left back. Riise pushes in to midfield. Garcia and Zenden also back in the side after the 3 midfield injuries.





Carragher ][


Garcia ][
Gerrard 65



Substitutions: Pennant for Garcia (59) - Fowler for Crouch (65) - Bellamy for Kuyt (90)

Unused Subs: Dudek,Paletta
][ = Yellow Card
Name = goalscorer and time(s)


Manchester City:

Att: 44,081
Ref: Rob Styles


Gerrard unlocked the City defence for the goal


Steven Gerrard's ferocious long-range strike allowed Liverpool finally to subdue a battling Manchester City.

The Liverpool skipper scored a cracker in the Champions League in midweek, and more than matched it with the goal that broke City's defiance.

Liverpool have now stretched their unbeaten home league record to 23 games back to October 2005 while City have now won just one of their last 19 away league games - losing 16.

A midfield injury crisis forced Reds manager Rafael Benitez into a major reshuffle beforehand.

With Xabi Alonso and Mark Gonzalez joining the growing casualty list in midweek, Benitez deployed full-back John Arne Riise on the left flank, with central defender Daniel Agger switching to left-back and Sami Hyypia returning in defence.

Craig Bellamy, who has spent the last two days in a Cardiff courtroom answering an assault charge, returned to Merseyside overnight to take up a position on the bench. He was joined in the dugout by Jermaine Pennant, who had recovered sufficiently from a midweek hamstring strain to figure in the squad.

City brought in Nedum Onuoha for his first senior start of the season, with Georgios Samaras dropping to the bench, alongside former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann.

England boss Steve McClaren was in the directors' box, not doubt interested in Micah Richards playing on the left of midfield having occupied the right-back berth on his England debut against Holland last week.

Liverpool had the first chance when Richard Dunne misplaced a header and Dirk Kuyt fed Peter Crouch, but another of McClaren's England men managed to waste the chance by taking too much time and too many touches before lifting a shot over Nicky Weaver's bar.

Boudewijn Zenden saw a 20-yard effort drift wide, but after 18 minutes Steven Gerrard went much closer from a similar range, his effort flashing past a post.

City responded when Claudio Reyna sent a long ball for Hatem Trabelsi down the right, but as he reached the area he rushed his effort and put the ball into the Kop.

Those same fans were soon on their feet giving City substitute Hamann a remarkable ovation as he warmed up on the line, a player who gave sterling service to Anfield over seven years.

City went close after 25 minutes when Joey Barton played Richards in on the right, and his pass inside found Corradi who shot wide across goal after a clever drag-back gave him the space for a shot on the edge of the box.

But Liverpool should have taken the lead after 32 minutes when Hyypia's 60-yard crossfield pass dropped into the box for Garcia, who did the hard part by producing perfect control from a difficult angle. But as he moved in on Weaver, he managed to hit the side-netting from six yards.

Liverpool were a little lightweight in midfield with Zenden and Luis Garcia, and the Spaniard was regularly robbed in possession by stronger opponents Sylvain Distin, Richard Dunne and Richards. So when he launched himself into a poor challenge on Onuoha after 39 minutes, referee Rob Styles produced a yellow card.

After 41 minutes Kuyt found Luis Garcia on the edge of the box, but his weak effort from a good position failed to trouble Weaver. Ben Thatcher was next into the book for a foul on Steve Finnan.

HT Liverpool 0 Manchester City 0

The pressure intensified as Liverpool attacked the Kop, but they continued to find Distin and Dunne in defiant mood.

City were containing them well and Liverpool clearly needed to change something in their method of attack - Benitez opting to replace Luis Garcia with Pennant on 59 minutes.

They reverted to a 4-4-2 system with Jamie Carragher at left-back, but almost immediately City wasted a good chance when Darius Vassell surged at the heart of Liverpool's defence, and when the ball was only partially cleared to Corradi, his low drive flew just wide.

Barton should have had a free kick when he was tripped on the edge of the box by Finnan, but the lack of a decision in their favour only inspired City to attack.

Carragher was then booked for a block on Trabelsi after 63 minutes, before Reyna fired wide from 18 yards.

On 65 minutes Liverpool sent on Robbie Fowler for Crouch, the lanky striker having got precious little change from Dunne and Distin.

But two minutes later Gerrard stamped his mark on the game.

Kuyt robbed Distin and the Liverpool skipper surged onto the ball and blasted it past Weaver from 20 yards.

That goal was hard on City, so much effort having gone into their defensive defiance. But they now had to put more into attack and Samaras was sent on after 74 minutes in place of Onuoha.

Barton was leading he fightback, taking on Gerrard and forcing City forward. Samaras forced Jose Reina into a save at his near post and Reyna brought the Spanish keeper to his knees from 25 yards.

City sent on Stephen Ireland for Trabelsi on 85 minutes, with Liverpool replacing Kuyt with Bellamy three minutes later.

Paul Walker, PA

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